Reporting Jenn McBride
By Jenn McBride
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Between emotional tributes honoring the late Whitney Houston and fiery performances by some of music’s biggest stars, all eyes were on Adele at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.
The British queen of soul returned to the spotlight Sunday night for the first time since undergoing throat surgery last year to repair a hemorrhaged vocal cord.
Adele, who picked “Rolling In The Deep” for her comeback performance, is most certainly rolling in Grammy gold after claiming all six of the awards for which she was nominated.
“My life changed when I wrote this song, and I felt it before anyone even heard it,” 23-year-old Adele told the crowd after winning Best Pop Solo Performance for “Someone Like You.”
Ironically, she took home the same number of awards Houston earned during her illustrious career in just one night. With her two previous awards from 2009, including Best New Artist, Adele is now an eight-time Grammy winner.
However, just hours after Houston’s Feb. 11 death at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, her 2000 compilation album topped iTunes charts, bumping Adele’s “21” to second place.
Oscar-winning actress and Grammy-winning singer Jennifer Hudson paid homage to Houston with an acapella rendition of “I Will Always Love You”, which she finished with, “Whitney, we love — we love you.”
“It’s like there’s a hole in the heart of music now, and I don’t know if it can ever be filled,” Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott said after the group accepted the award for Best Country Album.
Despite the ceremony’s often somber mood, performances by Glen Campbell and The Beach Boys brought the audience to its feet.
The Foo Fighters, who recorded their seventh album, “Wasting Light”, in frontman Dave Grohl’s garage, also had a great evening with four wins.
New talent was yet another highlight as The Civil Wars took to the Grammy stage for the first time to perform the title track of their debut album, “Barton Hollow”.
One of the most critically acclaimed new artists of 2011, the duo, comprised of John Paul White and Joy Williams, received awards for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album.
“We made a pact that we would only make music that pleased us,” White said backstage. “We’ve made music the other way around before.”
“It’s completely surreal,” a pregnant Williams said of their wins. “And to be welcomed, too, in the realms of both country and folk.”
With the recent deaths of Houston, Etta James and Amy Winehouse – who posthumously won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for her “Body and Soul” duet with Tony Bennett – the 54th Annual Grammy Awards offered several nods to artists who, sadly, are now beyond this earthly realm.
“We shouldn’t be here. Our darling daughter should be here. These are the cards that we’re dealt,” Winehouse’s father, Mitch, said when Bennett called him onstage.